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Satyajit Ray is one of the very few directors whose films did good business abroad, something which amazed him. Even today, they are screened abroad and liked primarily because they have universal theme which the foreigners identified with even though the films were not sub-titled. That was one interesting aspect of his films. He is a cult figure in Paris, France and Cannes. Retrospectives of his films are also held on popular demand.
– Sandip Ray (Satyajit Ray's son)
According to Screen Survey 2012, internationally acclaimed and feted film-maker Satyajit Ray, who also tops the legendary director's list, is considered the one most responsible for putting Indian cinema on the world map (17 per cent respondents thought so). His film Pather Panchali which earned him the Lifetime Achievement at the Oscars, has also been voted among the timeless classics of Indian cinema. The findings are interesting as it suggests that regional cinema and film-makers, more than Hindi cinema, are at the forefront of creating awareness about Indian films (across the globe).
Besides Ray, music composer A. R. Rahman (12 per cent - Tamil and Hindi), and actor Rajinikant have been voted among individuals who have drawn global attention. Rahman has been part of prestigious international projects like Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Bombay Dreams, Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours, and has performed at the Academy Awards as well as the Nobel Peace Prize Concert. Actor Rajinikant is said to have a cult following in South Asian countries particularly Japan.
Among Hindi film-makers and actors Aamir Khan, Raj Kapoor and Shekhar Kapur feature in the list. Interestingly Aamir (12 per cent) whose film Lagaan was nominated for the Oscar Awards in the Foreign Film Category, scores higher than Raj Kapoor, netting 9 per cent votes. Director Shekhar Kapur, who shot into limelight with Bandit Queen and has also directed international films like Elizabeth, Elizabeth: The Golden Age and The Four Feathers, however, features at the bottom of the list, significantly below fellow directors Deepa Mehta (11 per cent) and Mira Nair (10 per cent) who have helmed international projects such as The Midnight's Children and Vanity Fair and The Reluctant Fundamentalist respectively.